Photo: Press (Danya)
„You can always rely on the residents. They know the club, the crowd, the sound system, and they are a pillar of the musical identity of a club, just as important as the architecture, the acoustics or the interior design,” Nick Höppner once said in Groove. Our monthly Resident Podcast aims to give the residents of clubs and collectives working locally and internationally the attention and respect they deserve.
With roughly a quarter million inhabitants, many of them students, the city of Kiel is a breeding ground for many subcultural projects. The Bunker Club Kiel has been a focal point in the capital of the federal state Schleswig-Holstein for several years now, putting a heavy emphasis on local talent and its punters’ safety across its two floors.
Greek native Danya first enlisted as a resident of Hamburg’s RE:TOX before also joining the Bunker Club roster, a decision that evolved naturally after being booked there regularly in recent times. Also active as a producer with a new release on the Sine Space 7 label, she takes us down to Bunker Club’s TUNNEL floor with a driving and atmospheric techno.
What’s remarkable about Danya’s contribution to our Resident Podcast is how she lets the individual tracks breathe and the mix develop from one level of intensity to the other. This approach to techno is not concerned with spectacular build-ups and bass drops, but with finding infinity in the current moment.
You started DJing around five years ago in your native Greece. What drew you to electronic music in the first place and how did it come about that you stepped up to the decks?
I was very interested in electronic music from a very young age as it was the most enjoyable form of entertainment for me when I was going out with friends. Back then, trance was more popular in my home town and I was listening to this genre and I even started digging to discover new artists. It was not long after that I found a type of techno that I really liked and I immersed myself in that, spending many hours listening—it amazed me. Then a friend gave me a Hercules DJ console and this is where it all started. I was constantly trying to find more of what I wanted to hear and mix properly, I was very intrigued by the process and the result of what I was recording.
You have a background in dance. Would you say that had an impact on how you approached DJing?
Dance was my biggest hobby while growing up, mainly ballet and contemporary dance so I had classical and experimental electronic music influences, but I was also studying rhythm and musicality for dance. This definitely made me develop a wider perspective in music and I always felt a natural connection with rhythms.
In your hometown Patras, you were—and still are—a member of the Entropia collective. What philosophy does it follow?
Entropia started among friends to bring a specific type of entertainment to Patras that was not popular before. The goal for us was always to support the local underground scene, to create a safe space for all and to offer a broad range of electronic music for the city so people can join and express themselves as they want. We are playing many kinds of music, from techno to trance and electro.
You have relocated to Germany in 2021. What brought you there?
Growing up, Greece felt like a place to me which placed limites on my personal developments, I had escape tendencies since I was young. I visited many countries around Europe, but when I discovered parts of Germany and its culture I knew that it was a place where I could see myself living. I finished my studies in Greece and relocated to Hamburg to work in the field of neuroscience and also play music. The development in science, technology, art, and the mentality of the people still fascinate me.
Before enlisting with Bunker Club as a resident, you became a part of the Hamburg collective RE:TOX. How did that come about?
Last summer, I started meeting the people behind RE:TOX and 6D—the collective we are collaborating with—and we immediately felt a connection due to our matching tastes in music. After going to their events for some time, they invited me to play at an open-air event and after that day they asked me if I would like to be a resident in their team. Of course I accepted—I loved the concept, so I was more than happy for the support I got from them.
And what led to you getting on board with the Bunker Club crew?
Before becoming a resident for Bunker Club I had some experiences playing there and I was always getting the best feedback possible from the audience and the crew. They started to invite me more often and it became one of my favourite clubs to play quite soon. The vibe of the place has something special for me, the crew is lovely, and they offer excellent artist care. The moment they asked me to be a resident I had a clear answer in my head.
What is your general impression of Kiel’s electronic music scene and the community around Bunker Club?
It is very surprising that such a small city has this depth in electronic music, every weekend you can find many events with quality music taking place and Bunker is on the top of the list for me personally. They have created a safe space for all, they really care for providing the best experience for everyone who is going there to have a fun night. Two rooms with great music, proper sound, an awareness team that will be there for any kind of issue, and, most importantly, love for this scene. They are also trying constantly to support upcoming artists as you can see many new talented DJs on their line-ups, and that’s pretty cool.
Would you say that you prepare differently for your sets at RE:TOX and Bunker Club parties than if you play elsewhere?
I can say with confidence now that after some time being a resident for RE:TOX and Bunker Club, I know what to expect from their events. This gives me the freedom to be very comfortable, expressing my taste fully with my track selection and to even test some of my unreleased productions. It always depends on the time slot and on who is playing before or after me when I am creating a flow for my sets. What I really like is that I can easily improvise on what I will mix in next according to the energy of the crowd, for example if I get the response that they would go with something faster and darker or in a softer direction.
Besides DJing, you also took up making music a while ago. What did your first steps as a producer look like?
When I was younger, I was taking guitar lessons for a few years so I had a contact with music theory. Besides that, I was into maths, physics, and coding so I was pretty lucky to be able to understand how electronic music is being created by combining this knowledge. I started playing around with FL studio, just making some loops until I realised that Ableton was a more appropriate DAW for what I want to create. I spent a lot of time getting to know it. The beginning was difficult and if I had’t have friends around me who were producing music and who showed me stuff, I wouldn’t have reached the point of being able to complete playable tracks. I took some classes about a year ago, too, and they helped me a lot to improve my sound design and mixing skills. I didn’t have any goals to release my music, I was just deeply enjoying the process but later on I made tracks that I really liked and I wanted to play so I thought that more people might want as well.
Your debut EP Self Destructive Mechanism came out very recently on the Dutch Sine Space 7 label. The track titles make it seem that the respective pieces have very specific influences. Was there an overall theme or concept, a non-musical idea that you wanted to express through music?
I didn’t start with a concept initially, my taste and musical influences led me to create this sound, which is mainly dark and mesmerising but driving. The energy of the tracks represents my perception of sound, an ever-evolving work of art, technology, and emotions that makes you “lose” yourself when in motion, and that always holds an anticipation and mystery of what the future holds.
What was the idea behind your mix for our Resident Podcast?
The idea behind this mix is a night at Bunker Club, which I feel like playing on their TUNNEL floor. A musical journey starting with deep sounds and getting darker and darker along the way along with groove, otherworldly synth lines, and evolving hypnotising atmospheres. The selection includes fresh and older tracks that I love to play, but you can also hear some unreleased tracks of mine and other artists as well. I really enjoyed recording this mix!
Last but not least: What are your plans for the future?
The most important for me is to keep developing as an artist. I want to broaden my knowledge on music and technology so that my sound can mature, but I also want to take every opportunity that I have to discover new places, venues, people, and artists as it enhances the creative process. Furthermore, I would love to combine neuroscience and artificial intelligence with music production as they are my biggest interests and I believe they can be connected in a way which will enable us to extend this experience beyond its common field.
Stream: Danya – Groove Resident Podcast 42
01. Van der Meer – Essem [K029d]
02. Pianeti Sintetici – Matrice [HYPNUS036]
03. Perfo – Canvas [HYSEP41]
04. Danya – Pressure Fluctuations (Unreleased)
05. Ebass – First Contact [Quartzrec]
06. Volster – EXPOSITION K [EXPOSITIONS Series]
07. LKY & Alarico – Footsteps [LKY03]
08. Danya – Step in the Matrix (Unreleased)
09. AINT.S – Empty Self [AINT.S]
10. Red Rooms & AgainstMe – Cursed (Unreleased)
11. Fabian Wegmeth – Sacrifice [DREA006]
12. Persohna – Downbeat [AE064]
13. Quelza – La Valse 06 [HYSEP26]
14. AgainsteMe – Spooky Dreams (Unreleased)
15. Fresko – Problematico [HYSEP43]
16. Drucal – XX 11 A1 [Molecular XX 11]
17. Pfirter & Oliver Rosemann – Beta 02 [Sthlm LTD 057]
18. Van der Meer – Minist [K029d]
19. Leiras – Identity Melter [OWNLIFE016]
20. KØLPØS – Penumbras [NRDR144]
21. Phara – Falling Forward [PH003]
22. Ebass – Axis III [-]
23. Milo Raad – Uppercat [Mord093]
24. Wlderz – Morphing Sequence [COTD065]
25. Casual Treatment – Trip To Alderaan [SP003]
26. Fresko – AX1 [HYSEP43]
27. Uma Scheffer – GT-R [WCVA001]
28. Ricardo Garduno – Automatic Function [MT55]
29. Mathys Lenne – Zone X [FLOAT057]
30. Franz Jäger – Röd Reptil [DRSS168]
31.Tsibo – M25 (AgainstMe Remix) [COTD068]
32.AgainstMe – There Is Someone On The Line (Unreleased)
33.Rove Ranger – Endless [VE002]
34.Damne & Nicolas Vogler – Last Day [KR042]
35.Franz Jäger – Saed Carmex (Casual Treatment Remix) [WRK049]